#Scotland 2015 Day 15 – Kelso to Barnsley

#Scotland 2015 – Sept 25, 2015

Today we were venturing down into England. It made no sense when I was this close to the places I needed for book trailer photos not to go and get them. This particular project is still very much in the planning stages, although I do have parts of it written. But anyway, I digress.

Having that third cup of coffee over breakfast came back to haunt me. We headed for Jedburgh where we knew they had public loos that were spotless – even if you did have to pay to pee. That was a minor detail.

Since today’s journey was going to be over three hours (almost four), there wasn’t a lot of time to dally for photo ops, although we did stop at the Scotland/England border.

Scenery near the Scottish border
Scenery just south of the Scottish border
Don imitating a St Andrews Cross at the Scotland border
Me trying to shrink into the stone so I didn’t have to leave Scotland
Scenery in Northern England

We hit roadworks on the A1(M) where the motorway is being extended but at least the traffic still moved through here albeit at 50 mph rather than the normal 70 mph. But after that things went to hell in a handcart. Traffic came to a complete stop for quite a while as we approached the interchange with the M62 motorway. And it was at the early stages of rush hour. It was almost like being in Toronto except there weren’t as many lanes of traffic and we were on the opposite side of the road.

We eventually made it to our hotel and got checked in. As with every place we’ve stayed, the first thing we do is scope out where the outlets are so that hubby can plug in his CPAP machine. The first place we ran into an issue was Dunbar where the outlets were on the opposite side of the room but it wasn’t a problem because the room was small enough that the cord and power supply reached. This time, the room was enormous! No way it would reach. So we went back down to reception and asked if they had an extension cord. The girl at the desk came up with a power bar but even it was going to be iffy so she hunted up another one – this one with a longer cord on it. We took both and piggy-backed them together and plugged in the machine. Crisis averted.

Our room at the Premier Inn, Barnsley (Dearne Valley)
Our room at the Premier Inn, Barnsley (Dearne Valley)
Our room at the Premier Inn, Barnsley (Dearne Valley)

The hotel did have free wi-fi but you could only connect one device. With each of us having a laptop and an iPad and one Blackberry (data had been shut down by Rogers because of the roaming charges incurred – oops) so we paid the £5.00 to be able to connect with more than one. Even if you only wanted to connect two devices, it was the same price.

Wi-fi looked after, CPAP machine plugged in and a reservation made in the Breyers Fayre Restaurant for our supper, we went out for a walk.

The plan was to walk to the Barnsley Cemetery… you notice I said “the plan”.

My left leg (the one I tore the muscle in last year before our trip to Paris) was aching like crazy and I couldn’t do much more so we turned back about a third of the way there and went back to the hotel.

We’d eaten in a Brewers Fayre when we stayed in Norwich in 2005 so figured we would enjoy this experience, too. Our table was ready when we arrived. You had to place your food and drink order at the bar and pay for it in advance! That wouldn’t have been quite so bad but we ordered the special 2 for £10.99 Chicken Tikka Masala and the order went through as a single for £8.99. It’s a good thing I noticed it. Hubby went back to the bar with the receipt and the other menu and got it corrected and was referred to in a less than customer-friendly manner.

Other irritating facts – some people were having the debit/credit machine brought to their tables, others were waited on at their tables.

I’ll definitely stay in a Premier Inn again but not eat at a Brewers Fayre… at least not this one.


The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan ~ GUEST POST


The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan

by Whitney Dineen


Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.

Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right for her. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist Elliot Fielding.

Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.

The journey will make you laugh, cry and want to pull your hair out from frustration! Mimi eventually learns that she is quite remarkable in her own right and never needed to worry that she lived in her sister’s shadows.

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is the perfect laugh-out-loud, feel good book for any woman who has ever felt that she wasn’t good enough.





The Importance of Connecting With Readers on Social Media

            Once upon a time (or back in the olden days as my little girls would say) authors had about the same amount of face recognition as the person who showed up to read your water meter. Let’s face it; you were more likely to recognize the meter reader because you had more opportunity to see him/her. Writers were just faceless people who sat in their homes in dirty pajamas, dodging their forty-seven cats and drinking gin, all the while weaving stories for your entertainment.

            Happily, this is no longer so. Yes, some authors may still be drunk in dirty jammies, but that’s to be expected. Social media has allowed us the ability to interact with a myriad of folks we would have otherwise have never met. The good news is I no longer have to stalk Fannie Flagg and Marian Keyes through more nefarious means, now I can do it right on Facebook. Okay fine, I never really stalked them but I wanted too. I always craved more after reading one of their books and felt this burning desire to ask a million questions about their process. Now I can gush ‘til my heart’s content and so far neither has unfriended me.

            The internet allows authors to pull their fans into their world and communicate with them in a more personal way. I love it! As a reader, I have been able to share my adoration with authors I adore and as a writer I‘ve been able to bask in the glow of praise and affection (please feel free to follow me on Facebook so you can feed my pathetic author ego) from my fans. Note I look WAY better on Facebook than I do in real life. That’s another thing to love about social media! You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter but be warned, I’m more twit than tweeter. Proceed at your own risk.

            I love when people write to me and tell me how much they relate to my heroines. That’s what it’s about folks, making connections. Connecting with your reader base is a great way to know what people want to read and why.

            I have watched how many successful authors deal with their public and can tell you Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella are successful for a reason. In addition to being darn good writers, they engage with their readers. They are the smart ones who realize they’re where they are because of their fans.

            I’m lucky enough to be an author in an era when I can cyber chat with folks who’ve taken the time to read my books. I get to hear why they like certain characters and what about the stories speaks to them. For this reason, I consider social media a golden resource. Knowing what my audience enjoys reading helps me deliver that very thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cats to brush and laundry to do.




While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband. When she wasn’t modeling, she was in the kitchen, baking delights to share with friends. Soon, her friends began asking her to send baskets of her wonderful candies and cookies to business associates, agents and production studios. Word spread like wildfire, and the rest, as they say, is history. Whitney’s sensational creations are still in great demand by her loyal celebrity clientele (www.WhitneysGoodies.com). During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor. In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers The first of which, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory is available now.  Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens and organic vegetables.

Her first rom com, She Sins at Midnight recently won 2015 Reader’s Favorite silver medal in chick-lit and Mimi was #1 or #2 in humor satire on Amazon for over 2 weeks.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whitney-Dineen/11687019412?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WhitneyDineen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=Whitney+Dineen

Website: http://whitneydineen.com/


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